Getting probation from a judge or jury for sexual assault charges can depend on numerous aspects, including the severity of the offense and other conditions at hand. Living in Texas means facing stringent consequences for such cases, so preparation is crucial.
You want a pro attorney in your corner for this–it makes all the difference. They can navigate the legal complexities, working towards the best outcome, including probation. In this post, we outline the sexual assault charges that are eligible for probation and how to get help with your case.
Eligibility for Probation for Sexual Assault Charges
When a court orders probation, it’s essentially a sanction for individuals who are guilty of a particular crime. The ruling is an alternative to imprisonment that lets you stay within your community but under the constant supervision of a probation officer. It largely differs from parole in that it is offered in place of incarceration by a judge or jury at the time of sentencing. Now, parole is a different story. That comes from a parole board, but only after you’ve done some time behind bars.
Determining eligibility for probation in sexual offenses is a bit of a puzzle and varies with the charge and circumstances. A judge could, in the interest of justice, the defendant, and the public, opt to place a convicted individual on probation or community supervision instead of imposing a fine or sentence.
Below are the sexual assault charges eligible for probation or community supervision (with a minimum 5-year period):
● Indecent Exposure
● Indecency with a child
● Sexual assault of a child or adult
● Aggravated sexual assault, whether it was against a child or an adult
● Prohibited sexual relations (incest)
● Enabling the prostitution of a child younger than 18 years of age
● Sexual performance by a child
● Possession or promotion of child pornography
● Aggravated kidnapping, if done to sexually violate or abuse the victim (minimum 5-year period under Article 42A.453(b))
Aggravated Sexual Assault vs Sexual Assault in Texas
Understanding the nature of the sexual assault you’re accused of is crucial. It makes a difference in your chances of being under community supervision. There are two types: sexual assault and the more serious version, aggravated sexual assault.
Sexual Assault in Texas
Sexual assault is generally any form of a sexual offense that lacks an aggravating factor. It is a second-degree felony in Texas, as outlined in Penal Code 22.01(a)(f).
If you are accused of sexually assaulting a child, it will be treated as a separate offense. However, you could still up to a year in prison even if the victim is not a minor since sexual assault is a felony.
In general, you could face up to 25 years in prison for sexual assault, depending on the severity of the offense and whether you have been previously convicted.
The jury or judge has some discretion on how you should be penalized. So, even if they find you guilty, you can show how remorseful you are, which could help you get a lighter penalty.
It’s rough, but a lot of folks find themselves on that sex offender list. Messes with where you live and work, you know? The judge or jury almost has no jurisdiction to remove this penalty.
Getting a Probation Ruling for Sexual Assault
Unless your case falls into the rare category demanding life imprisonment, there’s a chance to be put on community supervision post-conviction. You might get deferred adjudication, but a jury can’t swing probation if you’re looking at ten years or more behind bars. During the probation period, a probation officer will supervise you and you have to adhere to some rules, such as:
● Not associating with other convicted felons
● Community service
● Regular and random drug testing
● Gun and weapon purchase avoidance, at times.
● Mandatory treatment, which can include attending sex offender programs, individual or group counseling, or even taking specific medication
Aggravated Sexual Assault in Texas
Aggravated sexual assault is any form of a sexual offense that has an aggravating factor, which means that you used a weapon or threatened to harm the victim physically. According to Texas Penal Code 22.021, aggregated sexual assault is a first-degree felony. It is one of the most serious offenses in the state.
Below are some of the aspects that elevate a sexual assault offense to aggravated sexual assault:
● If the defendant seriously injured the victim sustained serious bodily injury from the incident
● The use or display of a weapon by the defendant
● The defendant intended to or attempted to kill the victim or another individual
● If the defendant threatened the victim with serious bodily injury, kidnapping, human trafficking, or death
● Use of a rape drug by the defendant
● Sexual assault of an elderly individual
● If the victim is a minor (under the age of 14)
● Sexual assault of someone living with a disability
Aggravated assault generally carries a sentence of 5 years to 99 years or life in prison. A judge or jury cannot grant you probation if you are guilty of this charge in Texas. Furthermore, you have to register as a sex offender for life.
Defenses to Sexual Assault
The best defense to sexual assault charges is obtaining consent from your sexual partners. However, you should be aware that a person can change their mind at any time during the sexual encounter, but not after the act. A minor, however, cannot consent to sex.
Proving that the other party agreed to the act can be complex. Sometimes, it could be their word against yours if they claim they never agreed or changed their mind before it ended. This serious and uphill battle is exactly why you need an attorney by your side during the case.
Getting Legal Help With Your Sexual Assault Case
Facing sexual assault is tough, but you’re not alone. Even a simple accusation can be enough to stain your reputation at work and within your community, but we’re here to help you tackle it head-on. We’ve dealt with cases just like yours at Star Law Firm. We get it, and we’ve got your back. Contact us today, and let’s chat about your situation.